Kırşehir, Oct 23 () - A number of local business owners of the stores torched in the Central Anatolian province of Kırşehir during nationwide anti-terror protests in early September have said the perpetrators who carried out the attacks against the shops had specified their targets in advance, daily Hürriyet has reported.
The perpetrators walked the streets of Kırşehir for about seven hours with a list of the stores they had specified to set ablaze, said Sait Akıllı, a bookstore owner whose shop was one of some 32 shops, as well as the Peoples’ Democratic Party’s (HDP) building, set alight in Kırşehir.
“It was a deliberate act. They burned shops on the list, walking the streets. The targets were those of Kurdish origin” Akıllı said. “They wanted to burn us alive. Four other people were along with me. We rushed upstairs.”
Akıllı said 28 residents of the apartment building right above Akıllı’s bookstore were stuck inside the building surrounded by flames and they were only rescued by police forces and firefighters at the last minute.
HDP Kırşehir provincial head Demet Resuloğlu said there was no response from police after she reported a group was gathering in front of the party’s building.
“I called the police over the phone after the group gathered [outside the HDP building in Kırşehir]. I asked them to take measures, saying there was going to be an attack [on the building], but no measures were taken” Resuloğlu said.
“We thought we were going to die” said Sezai Öztürk, a waiter at the Diyarbakır Dessert House, who was trapped along with four others inside the shop at the time of the attack.
Öztürk said the perpetrators attacked from outside the front door.
“They smashed the front glass of the shop. We had to go downstairs to the basement. Then police came and took us out ten minutes before the perpetrators set our shop ablaze,” he said, questioning how police forces were not able to prevent the torching of their shop but we able to remove Öztürk and his friends alive from the attack.